Chinese Warlord and General. A member of the Hui minority of China, an Islamic enthnic group, he was born in Guilin, Guangxi Province. He attended the Guangxi Military Cadre Training School in Guilin, and later became allies with powerful warlords and Republic of China (ROC) military leaders in Guangxi province, gaining power. In 1924 he ousted the warlord Lu Rongting, consolidating his control over Guangxi Province. He officially brought the province into the jurisdiction of the ROC, but in reality ruled it a warlord. From 1926 to 1928, he joined forces with Chiang Kai-shek in the Northern Expedition, a campaign to root out warlordism in the north and unify China under the banner of the ROC, and proved himself a powerful military commander, winning numerous battles for the ROC. But after the Northern Expedition, he broke his alliance with Chiang when Chiang started campaigning against warlordism in Guangxi Province. He rejoined Chiang in 1937 when the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out, committing extensive forces to the anti-Japanese resistance. He was a key strategist during this war, advocating the use of guerrilla warfare, supply line disruption and scorched earth tactics against the superior Japanese forces. After WWII, he was appointed Minister of National Defense, but his input was mostly ignored by Chiang. In 1947 he was sent to Taiwan to assuage the popular unrest of the 228 Incident, doing so in a non-violent and reasonable way, thus earning the esteem of the people of Taiwan. At the end of the Chinese Civil War, the troops he led were the last to evacuate from mainland China and relocate to Taiwan. He and Chiang were never able to mend their relationship, so he retired, spending his remaining years in Taiwan. He died of cerebral thrombosis in 1966 and is interred in Taipei's Muslim Cemetery in an elaborate family plot.
Bio by: Chris Nelson